Friday, 17 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 12 : 1-7

Meanwhile, such a numerous crowd had gathered that they crushed one another. Then Jesus spoke to His disciples in this way, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered that will not be uncovered, or hidden that will not be made known. Whatever you have said in darkness will be heard in daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places, will be proclaimed from housetops.”

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who put to death the body and, after that, can do no more. But I will tell you whom to fear : Fear the one who after killing you is able to throw you into hell. This one you must fear.”

“Do you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? Yet not one of them has been forgotten by God. Even the hairs of your head have been numbered. Do not be afraid! Are you less worthy in the eyes of God than many sparrows?”

Friday, 17 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 32 : 1-2, 4-5, 12-13

Rejoice in the Lord, you who are just, praise is fitting for the upright. Give thanks to Him on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises.

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

Friday, 17 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 1 : 11-14

By a decree of Him who disposes all things according to His own plan and decision, we, the Jews, have been chosen and called and we were awaiting the Messiah, for the praise of His glory.

You, on hearing the word of truth, the Gospel that saves you, have believed in Him. And, as promised, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit, the first pledge of what we shall receive, on the way to our deliverance as a people of God, for the praise of His glory.

Thursday, 16 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious and Virgins)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today heard about the salvation which God had brought upon mankind through the means of Christ our Lord, who is His own Son and also the Messiah, our Saviour. And how Jesus had secured this for all of us, through His obedient act on the cross, that is to suffer for our sins and so that we may be free from the consequences of our sins, that is death.

By the shedding and outpouring of His Blood, He who is the Lamb of God, completely perfect and unblemished, not just by appearance but also by the complete purity and perfection of His heart, without any traces of sin, obtained for us the grace of redemption from sins, which God had also granted to all those who offered sin and burnt offerings of animals, sheep, goats and doves.

However, the loving sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ was different, because through that singular act of ultimate love, and by the offering of the perfect sacrifice, the only One worthy of all of our sins at once, He obtained for us all, salvation for all those who believe in Him and those who indeed willingly take part in His salvation, namely those who with faith and love for Him, accept and receive His Body and Blood into themselves, which He freely shed and offered for our salvation.

And this was in essence what God had in mind for all of His beloved people, when He sent them His messengers, that is the prophets and servants during the time of the old covenant of God, and to the Apostles, who were also His messengers and bearers of the truth of God at the time of the new covenant of God. Through them God wanted to reveal to mankind the fullness of His mercy and love, which He conveyed through Jesus and His works in this world.

And yet, the hearts of mankind were too heavily saddled and corrupted with the burdens of sin. And this burden of sin prevented them from understanding and realising the love of God, which He had for them. Instead, they embraced those sins and succumbed to their own temptations, the temptations of their flesh, so that they turned a deaf ear to the words and callings of the prophets and the Apostles of God, and they became proud and haughty, torturing and persecuting those messengers of God’s Good News because they considered them a nuisance to their way of life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, can we tell indeed how many times had the people of God disobeyed Him throughout time? In the Bible we witnessed yet again and again of this disobedience, beginning from the disobedience of our ancestors, who listened to Satan rather than to the words of the divine Wisdom of God, and then with the countless generations of mankind who continued to live in debauchery and sin, disregarding His laws and precepts.

And we knew of how the people of Israel did not have their full heart’s attention to the Lord. They complained against Moses and always made demands after demands to the Lord, even after He had done so much for them, so much that everyone who saw them would have proclaimed how fortunate and blessed they were, having been given the grace of God.

The disobedience of the people of God, who preferred to languish in sin and under the chains of slavery of the aforementioned sin, therefore became the greatest obstacle for mankind to reach out back to the Lord, their God and loving Father. But all this changed when the Lord exercised His might and power, and through a single stroke, changed everything through Christ, giving new hope to mankind and liberating them from the slavery of sin.

Thus, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded of the need for us all to constantly shun sin and impurities before the Lord, and we need to be always vigilant in all things, and be aware how the evil one may try to turn us away from the Lord. His attacks are always relentless and unforgiving, but we have no need to fear him, as long as we stay steadfastly faithful to His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Today we also celebrate the feast day of two great and faithful saints, whose life I am certain will be a great example to all of us, and what I am going to share with all of you about them will certainly benefit our faith, and our salvation in God. They are St. Hedwig of Silesia, the once Duchess of Poland turned into a holy religious devoted to God, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a holy virgin devoted to God who began the popular devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

St. Hedwig of Silesia was married off to a Polish duke at a very young age, and in age of warfare at the time, time was chaotic and destructive. And she lost her husband after she had born him many children. After the death of her husband, she moved to a monastery established by her daughter, Gertrude, and she devoted her life to God fully from then on. St. Hedwig and her husband were both renowned for their very pious lifestyle and very great devotion to helping the poor.

They devoted themselves to give their love and service to the poor, and amidst difficulties, they never gave up but continued with their works with great passion. St. Hedwig donated all of her riches and fortune after her widowhood and as she enters the Church as a religious. She was renowned for her great piety and humility as well, often walking barefoot even in snow.

Meanwhile, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was a young woman who devoted herself since early in her life to the Lord, to live a completely devoted life to the Lord. She lived frugally and with full faith in God. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque experienced many visions of the Lord and His mother Mary during her life, and in those visions, she experienced in particular the love emanating from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thus from her began the promotion of the now popular devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which reminds us of the love of God which He showed us all through His Son, Jesus our Lord, whose loving sacrifice on the cross purchased for us the freedom from all of our sins and iniquities, and opened for us the path towards His love and His salvation, the offer of eternal life which He freely gives to all those who believe in Him.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the examples of these two saints, let us all be on our way to seek the Lord and to be faithful to Him in all of our actions. Let us all shun all forms of sins and fornications, holding tightly and strongly to the centre tenets of our faith. May Almighty God grant us the gift of faith, empower us and help us on our way to reach Him. God bless us all. Amen.